e-lingo Builds Bridges to International Markets

26 May 2000
The multitude of languages and dialects used around the world can make surfing the Internet a frustrating experience. And thanks to the predominance of English on the Web, many people who don't speak it are left out in the cold.

Gaming sites and portals have been attempting to meet the needs of their burgeoning international clientele by translating their offerings, but not every site has achieved an outstanding translation. Many operators just haven't been able to keep up with the many language demands, and most don't employ a large staff of linguists, so they have to seek outside help.

One translation company, e-lingo, provides real-time translation solutions including Web-based search, text, email and browsing. Online businesses, such as portals or some sites, can incorporate e-lingo's services into their own websites to offer their users greater service and greater access to online content. (Samples of the various translation services can be seen on the e-lingo's website.)

"e-lingo services don't just translate the Internet, we use translation as a platform for providing multilingual search queries and inter-language email correspondence that enable truly global communication," said CEO Thomas Lamar. "e-lingo is translating the Internet to break down language barriers that until now have prohibited this multilingual medium from becoming truly worldwide."

Currently, e-lingo has developed translation software for 30 language pairs (such as translating English to French.) The primary languages, explained Heather Corcoran, e-lingo's director of marketing communication, are English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The company is hoping to release Japanese and Chinese translation software soon, and is also working on Russian and Korean. Next up may be Arabic, she added.

e-lingo's services aren't for everyone. "If a site needs 100 percent translation ( for things like legal declarations), then they should go to a linguist," Corcoran said. "It is important to understand that this is a machine translation."

On the other hand, if the operator only needs a small portion of the site completely translated, the product can refer the client to a linguist partner to help. The rest of site would then benefit from e-lingo's translation software.

Customizing e-lingo's software to incorporate important gambling terms like "high-low bet, "vig" or "double down," is pretty simple, too. "Our company started on the Internet, so we can easily create rules and vocabulary additions to languages," Corcoran said. Some companies, she added, aren't as flexible.

It doesn't take long to put together translation software for a new client--perhaps two to four weeks at the max, according to Corcoran. "We already have a lot of programming in place, so it's just a simple matter of inserting the necessary code into the site."

Human translation, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 48 hours to two weeks to accomplish, depending on the complexity of the task.

While users benefit from free translation of pages, the client pays e-lingo for the services. Based on the number of ads served and increased page views, clients are charged a cost-per-thousand fee for the translation.

For those unsure about acquiring a multi-lingual customer base, Corcoran explained that e-lingo "extends the viewers' usage." While localization is important for immediate services like catching a cab or finding a restaurant, the Internet has shown that a small site can meet the needs of customers around the world.

Thanks to the Internet, and translation services like e-lingo, the world is becoming a global village. And by making your site available in a variety of languages, you're opening your virtual door to the world.

Vicky Nolan joined the IGN staff in October 1999. She's best known for inventing fire, the wheel and swiss cheese. She can be reached at vicky@igamingnews.com.